Manchester Opera House hosts Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest as the UK tour comes to the city this March.

What is The Importance of Being Earnest about?

Oscar Wilde’s greatly admired and much loved comedy The Importance of Being Earnest follows Jack Worthing’s endeavours to marry Algernon’s cousin, the beautiful Gwendolen. But first he must convince the fearsome Lady Bracknell of his respectability. Wilde’s classic play looks at the clash of town and country in a story of romance, identity, perambulators and capacious handbags.

Who is appearing in The Importance of Being Earnest in Manchester?

Gwen Taylor stars as Lady Bracknell and alongside Susan Penhaligon as Miss Prism in the UK tour of The Importance of Being Earnest.

Gwen Taylor is best known for playing the title role in the ITV sitcom Barbara, as well as Anne Foster in Coronation Street, Peggy Armstrong in Heartbeat, Rita Simcock in A Bit of A Do, for which she was nominated for a BAFTA TV Best Actress Award, and Amy in Duty Free.  Her film appearances include The Lady in the Van and Monty Python’s Life of Brian.  Gwen most recently played Mrs Bramson in Luke Sheppard’s critically acclaimed touring production of Emlyn Williams’s Night Must Fall and Daisy Worthen in Driving Miss Daisy at Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre.  Other theatre credits include Calendar Girls (UK Tour), the title role in the national tour of Shirley Valentine, Top Girls (Royal Court and New York), and Gertrude in Sir Peter Hall’s production of Hamlet (London’s Gielgud Theatre and national tour).

Susan Penhaligon recently appeared in Rufus Norris’s production of Cabaret alongside Will Young and Louise Redknapp. She has a wide range of TV credits to her name, including Upstairs Downstairs, Tales of the Unexpected, Bergerac and A Bouquet of Barbed Wire. She played Judi Dench’s sister Helen in four series of the award-winning BBC sitcom A Fine Romance, and the regular role of Jean Hope in ITV’s Emmerdale. Susan also played Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew for the BBC’s Shakespeare season. Susan has toured the UK extensively, having previously worked with The Original Theatre Company, playing Queen Charlotte in their 2010 production of Alan Bennett’s The Madness of George III. She has also appeared in productions of George Bernard Shaw’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Agatha Christie’s Verdict and Oscar Wilde’s Lord Arthur Saville’s Crime.

The Importance of Being Earnest will be directed by The Original Theatre Company’s Artistic Director, Alastair Whatley, with set and costume designs by Gabriella Slade, sound and music by Giles Thomas and lighting by Alan Valentine. The UK tour is produced by Tom Hackney for The Original Theatre Company

Where and when is The Importance of Being Earnest performed in Manchester?

The Importance of Being Earnest is performed at Manchester Opera House from 13-17 March 2018.

Gwen Taylor as Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest coming to Manchester Opera House – image credit Manuel Harlan